From Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection.
Despite once saying he would rather slash his wrists than play James Bond again, it appears Daniel Craig has had a change of heart. The actor is reportedly set to reprise his role as 007, according to The New York Times, which cited “two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid conflicts with Eon and MGM.” Representatives for Craig have not yet responded to Vanity Fair’s request for comment.
On Monday, it was announced that the next installment in the never-ending spy franchise would hit theaters on Nov. 8, 2019. However, the film’s director and lead actor were not announced, leading some to wonder if Craig had finally decided to leave the franchise for good. Plenty of bets have already been wagered on the odds of Craig heading out to make room for a new Bond, rumored to be played by everyone from fan-favorite Idris Elba (who has repeatedly sidestepped the idea after too much Internet fervor) to Tom Hiddleston (before his Swiftian turn) to Tom Hardy, with actresses like Gillian Anderson happily throwing their names into the mix to play the first female Bond as well. The whispers were inspired by Craig’s vehement distress about continuing to carry the Bond flame, as captured in that infamous 2015 Time Out interview—in which he not only jokingly talked about slashing his wrists, but also said that if he did another Bond film, it would “only be for the money.” Craig added that he didn’t “give a fuck” who took the role after him.
After the interview went viral, the actor mellowed out a bit, admitting that he was exhausted from a grueling shoot on Spectre at the time of the interview. “I’d been away from home for a year,” Craig explained. His explosive statements apparently also provoked a furious earful from MGM chief executive and chairman Gary Barber, who personally called the actor to address the interview.
Behind the scenes, it’s no secret that all the big names involved in Bond film production do actually want Craig to return. Just last year, chief producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, in addition to longtime producer Callum McDougall, said they hope Craig will slip into the suit again, and that he’s their first choice for the role “without question.“ Considering the box-office results of the last few Bond films, of course he is! Craig isn’t just one of the most popular Bonds in the history of the series, he’s also the most lucrative: Skyfall, his third film as Bond, was the highest-grossing film in the classic spy franchise, netting about $1.1 billion worldwide.
At this point in his tenure, Craig is in a nice spot. Four films in, his legacy as Bond is fairly set, and he’s widely regarded as one of the best actors to tackle the role. He’s also in a comfortable position to demand a wildly high salary—though it will likely be less than a rumored $150 million, a number Vanity Fair previously debunked. And per the Times report, it appears Craig is not quite ready to give it up yet after all. To which we say: bring on the next press tour.
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